UNEP Statement on COVID-19

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United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) stands in solidarity with the billions of people around the world that are suffering the impact of the global pandemic of COVID-19.

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to millions of healthcare professionals and members of the UN family including the World Health Organization (WHO) that are working around the clock to protect us as we face humanity’s biggest crisis since World War II.

The immediate priority at this time is to protect people by limiting the spread of COVID-19. Recognizing that the virus requires a sound environmental response, we stand ready to support Member States and frontline UN partners in providing technical expertise on chemicals and hazardous waste management as they seek to address the increase in waste necessitated by the medical response to the crisis.

In spite of restrictions in many of the countries where UNEP has presence, UNEP remains “open for business”  while of course observing all recommendations issued by national authorities and the WHO. At UNEP we remain deeply commited to our core mandate of facilitating global environmental governance by adopting virtual channels to hold many of these discussions. This is because at the end of the day, the health of people and the health of our planet are intimately connected.

Human activity has altered virtually every corner of our planet, from land to ocean. And as we continue to relentlessly encroach on nature and degrade ecosystems, we endanger human health. In fact, seventy-five percent of all emerging infectious diseases are zoonotic, i.e. viruses originating from the transfer from animals, whether domesticated or wild, to humans.

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